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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Drinks and Food » » The mixed reviews of Sailor Jerry, or why rum tasting is so personal
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The mixed reviews of Sailor Jerry, or why rum tasting is so personal
TikiTacky
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1291
Posted: 2013-04-29 8:11 pm   Permalink

I've heard mixed things about Sailor Jerry's spiced rum so I picked up a mini of it and did a little taste test vs some Kraken.

Nose: Kraken smells overwhelmingly of spices and caramel. Sailor Jerry smells like ethanol with a hint of something.

Taste: Kraken was sugary and flavorful. It's definitely for mixing, and not too heavily. Sailor Jerry? I spat it in the sink. Ugh, Who drinks this?

Important note: I'm one of those people to whom cilantro tastes like soap, and it's quite possible that I'm missing something (and maybe tasting something else). This might also explain the polarizing reviews of some rums, not just SJ. Taste can be very different to people due to a genetic component (see
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98695984 ). For this reason, when purchasing rums for sharing with others your best bet may be to avoid the ones that get mixed reviews.

For what it's worth, my first taste of a bottle of Smith & Cross I bought immediately struck me with a distinct note of Vomit mixed in there. Looks like I need to be a bit more prudent about the rums I buy.


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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 944
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2013-04-29 8:26 pm   Permalink

Not sure exactly *how* you were tasting each of your rums, but just tasting each straight won't do the trick for me. For example, I remember my first experience tasting Lemon Hart 151 straight and it was too strong for me to appreciate. It helped *a lot* to cut it with some water or ice, and even then, it took some time for me to learn to develop my palate with that type of spirit. So I have learned not to judge new things too quickly, and I experiment several ways before I settle on some sort of personal judgment. But you're right that personal tastes can vary greatly and there is a genetic thing to consider.

 
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Trader Tom
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Jan 26, 2006
Posts: 813
From: Hillsboro, OR
Posted: 2013-04-30 12:39 am   Permalink

I love Smith & Cross. Here's an article that explains that funky flavor you're talking about:

http://www.esquire.com/features/drinking/best-new-caribbean-rums-0910

Cilantro tasted like soap to me when I arrived in Southern California as a Midwest transplant. But after living there for a couple of years, I got used to it.


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TikiTacky
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1291
Posted: 2013-04-30 05:31 am   Permalink

Great article, thanks. I've read quite a bit about rum at this ooint, but still hadn't heard of "hogo."

And I'll be the first to admit I have a naive palate for rums at this point. I'll try the SJ again in a mix of some kind.


 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 944
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2013-04-30 06:05 am   Permalink

You'll do fine by giving your palate some time to develop. Don't overlook the low end rums -- I think that by comparing with the higher-caliber rums you'll see differences more quickly and make comparisons more easily. Definitely an enjoyable and worthwhile endeavor.

 
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Hale Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 19, 2004
Posts: 1798
From: Pittsburgh
Posted: 2013-04-30 06:49 am   Permalink

To clarify, there are good low end rums, and bad low end rums. Here's a list of good low end rums:

Anything by Cruzan (not including flavored rums)
Anything by Appleton (I know they make high end rums, but most of their rums are under $24 here, which is great.)
Coruba (Cheaper than Myers's, and tastes better.)
Shellback (Decent, and can be cheap depending on your locale.)
Anything by Mount Gay
Gosling's

I'm sure there's a few I'm missing, but these are all sub-$20, and often sub-$15 rums. They're good to stock your bar with to start, and will provide a contrast to things like Smith & Cross, Flora de Cana, LH151, El Dorado, et cetera.

And it's vanilla and cherry that you're smelling in the Sailor Jerry. It's a shite rum, if you ask me. Never been a fan. Kraken and Trader Vic's Spiced rum have been my go-to's, with Oakheart and the seriously cheap Calico Jack as my backups for Rum & Coke.


 
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Kill Devil
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 251
From: Chicago
Posted: 2013-04-30 07:17 am   Permalink

I'm not much of a straight sipper myself, so I usually try out new rums in something simple, like a Daiquiri or and old fashioned. I LOVE Smith & Cross, though it is very strong, at 114 proof, and has quite a different flavor profile from most rums out there now, though I assure you there's probably little to no vomit in there

 
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TikiHardBop
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 21, 2009
Posts: 409
From: Rockledge, FL
Posted: 2013-04-30 10:00 am   Permalink

Tasting is extraordinarily subjective, for many reasons from genetics to tasting environment and personal experience -- even the kind of light in the room! We recently helped with the Hukilau drink competition by having a bunch of folks come over to my home bar The Storm Shelter. Of the 10 drinks we made that night, not a single drink was unanimously liked or disliked. Some had tons of likes and one or two dislikes. Even the drinks almost everybody hated had at least one person who liked it. Some had an even distribution of likes and dislikes.

Personally, I've found that I've developed my palate (and even *use* the word palate!), I've moved from favoring sweet to more bitter. If you want to pique my interest, just mention Campari, Amaro or Fernet! But I've got people who come over to the bar that just cannot like Campari or absinthe, no matter how I serve it.

So I just try to find something that people like and give it to them. Of course, if they're asking for swill, I try to find something in the same category of flavors that they might like better.
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Hale Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 19, 2004
Posts: 1798
From: Pittsburgh
Posted: 2013-04-30 10:46 am   Permalink

TikiHardBop - You can serve me Campari or Fernet Branca any day of the week!

EDIT: Taste is subjective, but bad booze is just bad booze.

[ This Message was edited by: Hale Tiki 2013-04-30 10:47 ]


 
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TikiTacky
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1291
Posted: 2013-04-30 9:48 pm   Permalink

So tonight I mixed up a daiquiri using the Smith Cross. Wow, what a difference. Aside from being strong (wowzers), the taste was amazing—full-bodied and complicated. Thanks for the tip! I'll try another taste with the SJ soon and post an update.

 
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Kill Devil
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 251
From: Chicago
Posted: 2013-05-01 06:49 am   Permalink

Glad to hear you liked the Smith & Cross. It's strong profile can "overpower" some Tiki classics where a Jamaican is called for, so I often reduce the amount or mix it with a lighter rum. For example, I'm a bit torn as to whether I should use it in a '34 Zombie or opt for Appleton V/X. It absolutely excels in "simpler" drinks like a Daiquiri, Jasper's Jamaican, etc

 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 944
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2013-05-01 06:59 am   Permalink

Good points, you've prompted me to conduct taste tests soon. I just found a specialty store in my city which caters to craft cocktailers and stocks Smith & Cross.
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7261
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2013-05-01 09:47 am   Permalink

I know Myers' is a well respected tiki drink rum but I tried it a while back and didn't care for the taste at all. Then again, I'm not a very sophisticated drinker
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Hakalugi
Site Administrator

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 3031
From: Redondo Beach, CA
Posted: 2013-05-01 10:05 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-05-01 09:47, MadDogMike wrote:
I know Myers' is a well respected tiki drink rum ...



Personally I avoid Myers and use Coruba dark instead whenever possible. Not only does it taste way better than Myers but it costs less as well.


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5018
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2013-05-01 1:16 pm   Permalink

It also helps to not swallow when tasting liquor. The burn can ruin an otherwise good flavor, especially if it is overproof.
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